Commission to discuss extending water rights

By Thomas Garcia: Freedom New Mexico

Extending water rights reservation fees for Ute Lake among 12 local entities is on the agenda today at a New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission meeting.

Village of Logan Manager Larry Wallin said he expects no action will be taken during Friday’s meeting in Albuquerque.

Wallin also said the contract has been extended twice before, and he does not foresee any reason it would not be continued.

Continuing the reservation fee is an issue affecting the 12 entities in the Ute Reservoir Water Commission, including Clovis and Portales, said Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority Project Manager Scott Verhines.

“The reservation fee allows the entities to pay a … $1.50 per acre foot,” Verhines said. “If the contract is not extended, then that price would increase dramatically and include the cost of operating and maintaining the dam at Ute Lake.”

Verhines said if the reservation fee isn’t extended, the price would change from $1.50 to $25 an acre foot plus a $5 operating and maintaining fee.

The Village of Logan has 400 acre feet of water rights equaling $600 annually in reservation fees and Quay County has 1,000 acre feet totaling $15,000 annually .

If the contract is not extended, Logan’s cost will increase to $10,000 and Quay County’s increase to $25,000.